Vet Vents

Week of June 14, 2007

News Short, May 31, 2007

Handled without care: Thank you for Kristen Hinman's truthful reporting in the story "Careless Care." Veterans Affairs has a massive public-relations and propaganda machine that runs 24/7/365. It is only through people like Hinman that the facts about how badly broken the VA is will become known. Again, thank you. The RFT is one of the things I miss most about living in St. Louis. I do not miss the terrible treatment I received at both Jefferson Barracks and John Cochran. The article scratched the surface. But like an iceberg, there is so much more hidden from view, known only to those who crash into it.

Larry D. Farge, Johnson City, Tennessee

Cafe, May 24, 2007

Modest Froeb: This communiqué concerns Ian Froeb's article "Naan Better" on the Khan family restaurant Indian Food. I couldn't agree more with his assessment of the cuisine. I must say it is my personal favorite Indian-style restaurant in the entire St. Louis area. However, I must disagree with his critique of the timeliness of the service. It is virtually DSL compared with what you could expect at the old Tandoori Hut on Hampton Avenue. You could wait till the chutney froze over before you caught even a glimpse of the turban-sporting Jas. At any rate, the thrust of my desire for contact is that the Khans are curious as to what Ian Froeb looks like — an Asian thing, I suppose. I told them I would try to procure an image of him from the Internet but alas, he seems to be a modest man and my endeavors have been fruitless. If he could but introduce himself to them as the obviously cuisine-savvy Ian Froeb the next time he dines there, I'm sure it would mean the world to them.

Herbert Medley, St. Louis

Feature, May 17, 2007

Don't blame the unions: It absolutely amazes me that neither the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission nor the city of St. Louis asks the people going to these conventions what they think. These are the people who are spending their hard-earned money to attend these events. Our downtown has many shortfalls; I think we all know what they are. We have been talking about fixing these problems for at least 25 years. We are making progress in our downtown area. We will soon rival other cities, and we will have more to offer many prospective conventions.

As a local union member, it comes as no surprise to me that once again labor unions are the whipping post for business leaders. Do our union agreements need updating? Absolutely. Conditions change over time and so does technology. I think we all need to grow and adapt to current working conditions, consumer expectations and technologies.

Have you ever seen a major event being set up? Imagine an army of workers transforming the biggest venue in St. Louis into a customer-friendly convention in a matter of days. Then tearing it all down just to set it all back up in a matter of days for the next event.

It is amazing, and my hat is off to all who help accomplish this show of a skilled union work force. Imagine if exhibitors or unqualified tradesmen were allowed to unload trucks, hang lights, connect receptacles, install projectors, set up booths or network computers. What a recipe for disaster. Could you imagine the liability factors involved?

Each and every union trade has its respective place in the work force. Of course we have disagreements; we are trying to protect our future. We can and will resolve these issues. The CVC has to look at the city it is representing and figure out how to go from there. Sure, we are number one in baseball, but we are also number one in crime. Gus Mantia, St. Louis

Unreal, April 19, 2007

The Byrne supremacy: Leave it to the RFT to print a smarmy review of The Whiskey Merchant's Diary, edited by the late Linda Fisher. As usual, pull out some snarky quotes from a 432-page book just to titillate the readers, and draw a few idiotic conclusions of your own. It's obvious to me that Unreal didn't actually read the book, just skimmed some highlights — likely from other reviewers — and came up with a typical RFT review. Bah to you people who trivialize an actual writer and demean Fisher's work of over eight years — especially as she cannot now rebut your "review."

And by the way, in answer to your "where the hell is Agnes Lake's diary?" question, the biography of Agnes Lake will be published next year. God forbid that you should review it, too. Chris Byrne, south St. Louis County

Letters, April 5, 2007

Speaking of Chris Byrne: I wrote a letter earlier in regard to Kristen Hinman's Valley Park coverage ["Valley Park to Mexicans: ¡Hasta La Vista, Baby!"]. My point was that by passing those laws, they were basically deputizing landlords to become federal immigration agents.

Shortly after that, Chris Byrne wrote to say my point was B.S. It would be easy as checking a few papers and/or IDs. Byrne neglected to realize it's way more complicated than their "solution" would have you believe.

It appears a federal judge has the same point of view as I do (see www.msnbc Maybe if you print this, Chris Byrne will gain a broader perspective on the subject. Brad Treft, Chesterfield